Embracing God's Future Without Forgetting the Past: A Conversation about Loss, Grief, and Nostalgia in Congregational Life

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$19.99  $18.59
Augsburg Books
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.4 X 1.0 inches | 0.85 pounds

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About the Author
Bishop Michael Girlinghouse has served congregations and campus ministries in Wisconsin, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Oklahoma and has taught as an instructor at the university level. He currently serves as the bishop of the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod, ELCA. Bishop Girlinghouse is a devotional writer and has led a variety of workshops and retreats. He is married and has an adult daughter.

"In many ways we have lost the means to talk about grief. The church in North America is in the midst of change, and much that we knew and experienced post-World War II is disappearing. In this book, Girlinghouse not only names the loss and grief many congregations feel but encourages them to acknowledge it and work with it. His insight that nostalgia is not a disease but a powerful tool to move into the future is liberating." --Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

"Transformational congregational change is required today. But Michael K. Girlinghouse knows that the grief of loss must first be confronted, not avoided. This book is full of deep, courageous wisdom, showing pathways for congregations to move through tradition into mission, discovering the promise of God's intended future." --Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, author, Future Faith: Ten Challenges Reshaping Christianity in the 21st Century; General Secretary Emeritus, Reformed Church in America

"Michael K. Girlinghouse has listened to a litany of nostalgia for the church of the past. In this insightful book, he encourages readers to find new ways of being church through respectful remembrance, development of rituals for grieving, then adapting by embracing practical techniques for living into a vibrant and authentic future." --Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Emeritus, 1517 Media; Principal, Getting2Transformation.com

"As is often said, 'The only thing that is constant in life is change.' Congregations that are healthy learn how to address the changes they face and continue to minister effectively in their communities. Not grieving the losses of past glory can get in the way of being flexible and adapting to changing circumstances. Girlinghouse's book gives useful information and practical exercises for doing this. This book will be very helpful to congregations willing to do this work." --Ronald W. Richardson, author, Creating a Healthier Church

"Michael K. Girlinghouse has brought together his background teaching about grief and his experience working with congregations as a bishop to write a well-grounded but practical book. The material in these pages will help any congregation that has been over focused on the past to find healthy ways to honor what was, so they can move forward into what God knows can be." --Dave Daubert, DMin, PhD, Day 8 Strategies

"As an intentional interim minister who has helped congregations move through transitions my whole career, I know Girlinghouse's book is one I will keep on my shelf. It is full of wise, practical guidance for leading congregations through grief and loss, even while pointing them toward a future and a hope. Chock full of examples drawn from his years as a campus pastor, congregation pastor, and bishop, Girlinghouse draws upon contemporary grief and bereavement literature, organizational development theory, and Scripture to create a toolkit for every pastor, particularly those leading a congregation through a time of transition." --Norman B. Bendroth, Professional transitional specialist and author of Interim Ministry in Action: A Handbook for Churches in Transition

"Michael K. Girlinghouse knows the heart of congregations. He also knows they want to move forward but seem to cling to the past. This book unlocks the secret to bridging the gap and helping the people of God move forward." --Bishop James Hazelwood, New England Synod, ELCA